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Screenshots and Screencasts in Gnome Shell

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Many of you already know how to do it but I am sure that a lot of people don’t, so here is a short article that explains the mentioned functions.


To take a screenshot of your desktop in Gnome Shell you can do two things. The first one is to use your keyboard and press your Print Screen button. When you press it your screen flashes and a camera aperture sound plays to inform you that the screen is taken. You will find the png image file under /home/Pictures folder.

If your keyboard doesn’t include a Print Screen button you can set another one by going to Accessibility Menu/ Universal Access Settings/ Typing Tab/ Keyboard Settings/ Shotrcuts Tab. There you choose the Screenshots category from the left and press the “Take a Screenshot” option that will allow to set a new button as shown below.

If you want to take a screenshot of a part of the screen instead of your whole desktop you can press Shift+Print and a selection cross will appear. You can then form the rectangular selection and the screen is taken. You can of course set different buttons for that too.

The second way to print screen in Gnome Shell is to use the screenshot tool that is a Gnome core utility. You will be able to print whole or part of the screen, but additionally you can also set a delay of x seconds and choose to include the pointer or not.

Desktop Record

To record your desktop you press Ctrl+Alt+Shift+R and a bar with a red circle on the bottom right appears to show the load. The same keybinding is used to also stop the recording and the video file is automatically saved under /home/Videos in webm format.

Gnome’s screencasting was very much improved in Gnome 3.6, leaving behind the saving of more than one recording per session problems etc. It is now a trustworthy tool that uses little resources compared to other solutions and is quick and easy to use.

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  • Philip Witte

    Screen Record is very nice, I’m still on Gnome Shell 3.4, so I’m excited for the improvements made in 3.6

  • Jonathan

    The screen recording does not handle the sound , is it a bug or a opitional propery.